No state produces more Great Northern Beans than Nebraska, which is why we chose this hearty, white bean soup for the state. The sautéed bacon, and vegetables flavor this soup, while the starches from the beans thicken it.
In a soup pot over medium-high heat, sauté the bacon lardon to render the fat. Cook until crisp about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan, and set aside. In the reserved bacon grease, cook the onion, celery, carrots, potato, and leek. Stir the vegetables to prevent burning. Lower the heat if necessary and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper, and vegetable stock. Simmer for about 20 minutes to finish cooking the vegetables.
Stir in the beans, and cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until the beans are cooked. Add the bacon back into the soup, and serve.